An Argument About Consumerism
Essay 2 is an argumentative piece of writing in which you assert and then defend a claim related to consumerism. The parameters for this assignment are intentionally broad. Use this as an opportunity to celebrate consumer culture, to decry it, to cautiously defend it, to call for reforms, or to articulate the significance (either positive or negative) of specific consumer products, services, and trends.
Examples of possible essay topics (feel free to adapt and modify these as you begin to think about Essay 2, but please don’t simply borrow them). Note their complexity and specificity.
Coverage of primaries and elections by The New York Times and other national papers should be free for all to read, and not kept behind a paywall. Journalism has been destroyed by commerce. The sale of bottled water should be controlled by the government to prevent pollution and the overuse of plastic.
Taco Bell’s announcement that it is revising its menu and dropping certain items shows that vegetarian customers are marginalized in America, despite the popularity of Beyond Burger and its inclusion in fast food menus across America. Smartphone games designed to be addictive and which require players to make in-app purchases to unlock features should include a mental health disclaimer. Cigarettes should be allowed to be advertised on radio, television, film and the Internet. Essay 2 has a two (2) source minimum requirement: 1 primary source and 1 secondary source (these are explained in a separate page within this module). These sources should be documented in a Works Cited Page.
The essay should be a minimum of 1500 words AND include separate works cited page. The essay should have a clear argument that is developed with the use of researched evidence. This is not expository writing. Choose a side and develop your argument by paying close attention to the three rhetorical appeals (pathos, ethos, and logos). All necessary MLA conventions should be followed in terms of formatting, source citation (in-text), and documentation (Works Cited Page). Errors in word usage, grammar, and mechanics should be minimal. By no means do I expect a perfect paper!!! The essay should be interesting and unique. You have a lot of freedom to choose what specifically to write about. I value creativity and originality in choosing your topic. . . . . . Using Sources for Essay 2 Essay 2 has a two-source minimum requirement, 1 primary source, and 1 secondary source.
1 primary source.
A primary source can be a record of a person, event, or occurrence that was created by an eye-witness or participant’s version of an event.
Primary sources allow researchers to gain better insight into historical figures and events. (Courtesy of the Purdue Library). Primary sources can be hard statistical data and the result of questionnaires and public opinion surveys. Primary sources are also the records of officialdom and institutions: legislation, policy reports, medical files, corporate memos, etc. Another common primary source is a journalistic account of “the person, event, or occurrence.” You can create primary sources through your research! For instance, by conducting interviews or handing out surveys. Though really, and I hope this simplifies matters, a primary source is what is being studied, analyzed, and critiqued. So if I’m writing an essay on my favorite restroom on UNL’s campus (a student did this, seriously, and it was brilliant), then my primary sources become records of that facility’s construction, renovation, usage, and cleaning schedule. Examples of primary sources that would correlate with the sample topics/theses for Essay 1.
Coverage of primaries and elections by The New York Times and other national papers should be free for all to read, and not kept behind a paywall. Journalism has been destroyed by commerce. New York Times website The sale of bottled water should be controlled by the government to prevent pollution and the overuse of plastic. Statistics/data about pollution from plastic Taco Bell’s announcement that it is revising its menu and dropping certain items shows that vegetarian customers are marginalized in America, despite the popularity of Beyond Burger and its inclusion in fast food menus across America. a press release from Taco Bell (I love Taco Bell btw; there will be many Taco Bell references) Smartphone games designed to be addictive and which require players to make in-app purchases to unlock features should include a mental health disclaimer. information from the game’s manufacturer. their description of the game. internal documents, medical research, etc. Cigarettes should be allowed to be advertised on radio, television, film and the Internet. Legislation that prohibits tobacco from being advertised. Essay 2 also requires 1 secondary source.
A secondary source is generally a work of analysis that critiques analyze or summarizes a primary source. For example, your analyses of a television advertisement would be considered secondary sources.
Students often struggle with how to use secondary sources and even, understandably, rebuff their use. When I am preparing my own academic writing for conferences, I also wonder the same thing: why do I need to include these secondary sources if people are primarily interested in my ideas?!
We include secondary sources for a number of crucial reasons:
to acknowledge an ongoing discussion about an issue. This speaks to our credibility. It shows we are knowledgeable. to acknowledge what intellectual debts we have. this is about being an ethical writer and shedding a light on what shaped our thinking. to provide a counterargument (more on this for Essay 3). Let’s take New York Times essay topic/thesis example from above. Potential secondary sources include
op-ed pieces about the larger commercial threats facing journalism analysis of why newspapers charge subscription fees analysis of other resources that provide election/primary results Note that these potential secondary sources are either opinion-driven or analytical.